Pie Five Pizza has awarded 18 franchise units to retired Cleveland Indian Matt LaPorta to bring the brand throughout the Tampa, Fla., area beginning in early 2015. LaPorta, who is also a former University of Florida baseball player, will be joined by fellow MLB retiree Josh Fields and restaurant operators Brandon Birdwell and Jeff Engle to expand the chain from Pasco County to Sarasota, Fla.
“For the longest time I’ve wanted to open up a cool pizza place like this. I guess you could call pizza my new passion,” LaPorta said in a news release. “So when Josh told me about Pie Five, and my family and I tried it out for ourselves, I knew this was it. The operational model is excellent, the company’s leadership is top notch and the food is fantastic. I’m convinced Pie Five is going to be a huge hit in this area.”
Fields is also currently spreading the Pie Five brand throughout Oklahoma City with former NFL star Billy Bajema.